You only need one tuner; either the cable box or the VCR. It sounds like you're using the VCR to change channels. Don't. Set it to Channel 3 (or 4) and use the cable box to tune to channel 200+. See if that works. If so, you can still have it start and stop when you want but you'll have to have the cable box on the channel ahead of time.
“At the end of day, an informed citizenry armed with critical thinking, capable of telling truth from lies, facts from opinion, is the last defense against tyranny.” Yangyang Cheng